If you’ve ever wanted to own an action figure of your favourite superhero, you’d know how difficult it is to find the perfect one. And if Indian comic superhero figures are what you're looking for, most people would suggest that you give up. Putting an end to this dilemma is an independent artist who is sculpting action figures and bust banks of Indian comic superheroes.
We got in touch with him to learn more about this and his studio - Premier ArtFx Studio
. (Note: The interview has been translated to English from Hindi.)
How long have you been practising the art of sculpting? Prem: I’ve always been passionate about drawing, in fact I was working as a professional sketching artist a while before I began sculpting.
I worked on my first sculpture when I was in college studying art. My first sculpture was of the popular Indian superhero Doga. My work was appreciated by random people and out of the blue I had a new found support for something I always loved doing. After which I kept receiving interesting sculpting jobs that I looked forward to taking up. From then to now I have worked on various figures, sculptures of superheroes Indian and globally known and it has only been a year and half since I started.
What made you think of an uncommon idea like this? Prem:
There’s a long story behind this. Since childhood I loved cartoons and superheroes, so much that I’ve had been punished at multiple occasions for the crazy things I did to get my hands on some comics. When I first came across the He-Man action figure I went crazy, I wanted to own one so bad that I made one using clay.
Later in life, I took up a part time craft job for pocket money, where I learned more about an Art College in Delhi to learn illustration. I never dreamt of pursuing sculpting as a career; I just wanted to do something different so decided to sculpt Indian action figures as I never came across any. There are toys of a few popular Indian cartoons available for kids, but no good quality action figures. After completing my first project the satisfaction and appreciation was immense and I just wanted to explore more.
What all challenges do you face often while working on a project? Prem: One of the biggest problems we face is getting our hands on the necessary material to build these figures. The elements and accessories required to complete a high quality figure is really difficult to arrange. When I started off, it took me the longest time to just get a source that would provide me with the raw materials. Now, I just order the material off the net, which in-turn shoots up the price of the finished action figure and makes it difficult to generate sales for the same.
Also, our studio deals with two types of processes for making the figure - a. custom making, and b. sculpture making. Custom making is very reasonable as we use existing prototype base bodies and assemble the action figure. But sculpture making gets heavy on our pockets as that requires animation clay to model in the character of the figure. After moulding the product needs to get in a cast, which in short is a long and exhausting process, which works well for mass production but for us it gets too expensive.
Do you work alone or have a team that works with you? Prem: I have mostly handled the work by myself. All the orders given out so far have been all me, except Doga’s life size bust. I was offered that project by Raj Comics with a 2 month time period. My two friends who also pursue sculpting helped me complete the bust in time. So, that’s the only team I have, if I’d ever need one or else it’s just me.
How do you plan to scale these miniatures? Prem: The aim for my design workshop is to provide creative work. We keep experimenting with various characters, like presenting them differently, adding features etc. We work via Facebook and receive many inquiries on various figures, but we have a few conditions-
* We don’t produce any existing characters due to copyright issues. We custom-make figures, like design the costume, add or edit features that to for personal collections not for commercial sale purposes.
*Only while working with companies that own the rights of particular figures we work on an existing superhero from scratch, eg: Raj Comics’ Doga Bust.
What has been the highlight of your journey so far? Prem: There are so many moments since I started this work that have been simply beautiful. People have been very kind, supportive and simply motivating. As I already said about working with Raj Comics, that was a something. The minute I shouted out about this on Facebook, I realised how huge the community of Indian Superhero fans was. Since then, I have been putting in even more effort to this. I keep learning newer technologies to apply finesse in the sculptures I make. I tried my hand at air brushing, 3D colour treatment which gives amazing results. The year 2016 begun with a good amount of work, so much that I have no free time whatsoever.
What’s next on your plate? Prem:
After spending so much time doing what I do, I’ve learnt of the tremendous market in India for mature superhero figure collectors. I plan to link myself with a few companies and bring all Indian Comic superheroes to life in the form of action figures on a higher scale. Till then, you can stay updated via my social media page